Abstract and Keywords
Supervenience, emergence, realization, and reduction are among the concepts that have played—and continue to play—prominent roles in metaphysics during the last few decades and at the present time, in particular in the debates over the mind-body problem and the status of the special sciences. One of their principal applications has been in characterizing the ways in which mental properties or phenomena are related to physical properties and processes. Thus, it has been claimed, and widely accepted, that the mentality of a creature is ‘supervenient’ on its physical nature in the sense that once a creature's physical nature is fixed, its mental nature is thereby fixed. It has also been suggested that consciousness and rationality are among the ‘emergent’ characteristics of complex organisms and systems in that these are ‘novel’ systemic properties that in some sense transcend the simpler properties of their constituent parts.
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